On January 7, 1974 Carly Simon gave the world two major productions with husband James Taylor: the single "Mockingbird" and their first child, Sarah Maria "Sally" Taylor. Within days, upon the release of Hotcakes, Sally, though still in utero, made her first appearance on an album cover.
Sally is the inspiration of one of Carly's most humorous sets of observations, "Think I'm Gonna Have a Baby"
You're puttin' out too many phonograph records/
I think I'm gonna have a baby, a baby/
Babies do such nice things, they rock on your knee
Who's putting out too many phonograph records? Arguably, David Geffen. Hotcakes would have to compete with the simultaneous Elektra-Asylum releases of rival Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark and Bob Dylan's Planet Waves. And Geffen slung an arrow when he stated , at the time, that Hotcakes was the most expensive record ever made.
If so, it's money you can hear in the grooves and in the Paul Buckmaster string arrangements. Listen to the last 50 seconds of "Haven't Got Time for the Pain", Carly's big Adult Contemporary hit of 1974. ( Buckmaster had also arranged for Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water and for Lloyd Cole's glorious Side Two of Don't Get Weird On Me Baby.)
Hotcakes is one of the albums with which I grew up. Looking back I can see how this might have been a suitable soundtrack to our lives in a small Connecticut town. Carly's lyrics reflect a kind of upper middle class domestic bliss ( "Write what you know") and yet her marriage with James Taylor already had its troubles. Pregnant with Sally, She would visit Taylor in rehab. The Hotcakes cut "Mind On My Man", in which she airily whistles, may only hint at her worries.
And I don't think he loves me
I worry about his lovin'
Ain't I crazy?
As on No Secrets, Carly's voice and sense of humor are the stars of this particular show. She's got an all star cast helping her out, including Dr John, Robbie Robertson, James Taylor, and Billy Cobham among others.
The remake of the 1963 Inez and Charlie Foxx tune, "Mockingbird", was the big hit, peaking at #5 in March of 1974. Here the couple perform the tune ( and the Carolina shag) at the No Nukes concert in 1979.
Sally would also become the subject of her dad's "Sarah Maria" which appears on the 1975 album Gorilla. Like brother Ben, Sally has become a singer-songwriter.
One more footnote: Before 1974 was over, Carly sold Heinz Ketchup the rights to use her 1971 hit "Anticipation" in a commercial.